Credit Cards Make Fast Food Even Faster

Thousands of people eat at fast food restaurants every day. They're used to combo meals and fast service. But more and more, they're also getting used to being able to pay for their meals with credit or debit cards.

"In a fast food environment, it's something that you don't expect," Rodney Salvaggio said. "If you go to a table cloth like dining establishment you expect to be able to use a credit card, but industry wide it's something just starting."

Three Popeye's restaurants on coast are in a trial program to see how well customers like making credit cards a part of their fast-food dining experience. The goal is to make transactions more convenient for customers. Employees say so far, they've gotten a good response.

"They're glad we have it because sometimes they don't want to go to the bank. They just want to come here on the weekend and the bank is closed. Credit cards, they come in handy," cashier Karen McDonald said.

"Well, it's more convenient. If you don't have that much money on you and they don't accept checks, credit cards are really good," said Charlene Johnson, a fast food customer.

Fast food and credit cards are not an entirely new concept. The owner of a Subway in Edgewater Village in Biloxi started accepting plastic seven years ago to increase his customer base.

"We've seen about a 22 percent increase in sales because people just don't carry cash. They carry credit cards," store owner William Balog said.

Balog says most of the industry has kept away from credit cards because of the added expense. But now that credit card companies are lowering fees, he expects more franchises will start accepting them.

by Danielle Thomas